SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2014 – After big KO wins in November for Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev in Quebec City, expectations were raised among boxing fans for an eventual showdown between the two powerful punches in the light heavyweight division.
Saturday’s fight between the Russian Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO) and untested but game Cedric Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) of Chicago was seen as a stepping stone toward the contest with Stevenson. Those expectations were dashed when Stevenson’s manager Al Haymon bailed out of their contract with HBO and signed with rival Showtime instead.
While Kovalev is left without the dance partner he expected down the road, he can’t worry about it now and we shouldn’t either. Kovalev has a fight in front of him tonight in Atlantic City. Kovalev should use the Stevenson skedaddle to Showtime as motivation to put on a great show and prove those right who say that Stevenson is ducking a fight with Kovalev, the light heavyweight version of what’s going on with Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather.
If Stevenson really is ducking Kovalev, it’s not hard to figure out why. “Krusher” Kovalev has only made it past four rounds as a professional twice, hasn’t gone past four rounds in his last six fights, and has 21 knockouts in 23 fights. He lives, eats, breathes boxing. He says often that fights are won in the gym. He trains hard with the focus of a champion, and said all he does is get in the ring with his memory.
Kovalev’s nickname is “Krusher” and all Cedric Agnew is likely to score tonight is a moral victory if he makes it past the first half of the fight. Good luck with that. Agnew failed to make weight when he first stepped on the scale. He was given 45 minutes to make it on a second attempt and did at 174.4; Kolalev weighed in at 174.3 pounds.
The co-feature bout pits junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme of Puerto Rico (20-1, 18 KOs) against Karim Mayfield (18-0-1, 11 KOs) of San Francisco, California. This pair presents a contest well worth watching. Delorme, 24, has spent the last few months working with Robert Garcia in Oxnard, California. Garcia has a long roster of world-class talent at his gym. Delorme says he’s been sparring with some of them although he won’t be specific, and feels ready to take on Mayfield.
Mayfield’s confidence in the outcome tonight got a boost two weeks ago. The 33-year-old resume includes a unanimous decision over Mauricio Herrera, who many people including me felt defeated title holder Mikey Garcia handily in Puerto Rico March 15. Mayfield has also worked with big names as a sparring partner himself, including Manny Pacquiao.
The pair nearly got things started early during their weigh-in Friday. It began as the usual trash talk, and escalated to the point the pair had their hands around each other’s necks. Each fighter’s team stepped in and attempted unsuccessfully to sepearte them. New Jersey State Athletic Control Board Comissioner Aaron Davis, who dwarfs both men at 6-7, 280 pounds, ordered both to knock off it in a commanding voice. Not a guy you want angry at you if you’re a fighter in his state. Both came in a fraction under the 140 pound weight limits.
Kovalev vs. Agnew and Dulorme vs. Mayfield airs on HBO’s Boxing After Dark at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Saturday, March 29.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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